KARACHI: Eight teams from across the country are ready to battle it out for the National One Day Regional Cup, which will begin from January 25.
The tournament, which will be played in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi will feature 31 matches.
Even though one match from each round along with the semi-finals and final will be telecasted live on the TV, the absence of star power have casted big doubts on the success of the tournament.
Numerous players from different teams are currently with the national side on the New Zealand tour, and will not be available for selection before the first three matches of the tournament.
Defending champions Peshawar will face Fakhar Zaman-less FATA in their first match, whereas last year’s runners-up Karachi Whites (W) will lock horns with Faisalabad at KRL Ground in Rawalpindi without pacer Rumman Raeess, who will be replaced by right-armer Tabish Khan.
Hosts Islamabad, who will be without all-rounder Imad Wasim and fast-bowler Hasan Ali, will face joint-host Rawalpindi in their opening fixture.
On the other hand, Rawalpindi will also go in the tournament without three of their best players — Umer Amin, Muhammad Hafeez and Shadab Khan, who will be replaced by left-arm pacer Sadaf Hussain, opening batsman Azhar Ali and Saud Shakeel.
Other four teams, Karachi (W), Faisalabad, Lahore Whites and Lahore Blues will begin their tournament with full squads as none of their players are travelling with the national team at the moment.
The pitch behavior and weather will be another interesting aspect to monitor during the tournament, as the same tracks created massive problems for the batsmen during the recently concluded National T20 matches, whereas some matches were whitewashed as well.
All teams will play seven matches each in the competitions and the four leading outfits will progress to the semi-finals, which will be held on February 8th and 9th at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium while the final will be held on February 11th at the same venue.
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